Simon Grayson believes Blackpool have bagged an exciting signing in striker Ryan Hardie.
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Hardie was confirmed as a Seasider yesterday, the 22-year-old making the move from Rangers for an undisclosed fee.
The 6ft 2ins striker, who watched Tuesday night’s friendly win at AFC Fylde from the stands, had been lined up by former Pool boss Terry McPhillips.
However the deal was put on hold once Simon Grayson came on board. Having taken time to assess the current squad and undertake more research on Hardie, the Seasiders decided to go ahead with the deal.
Grayson said: “It was a deal the football club agreed before I came here. He’s a player the club had monitored but I’ve not just signed him off the back of that. I’ve done a lot of research in terms of watching clips, and speaking to the coaching staff at Rangers and others in Scotland I know, as well as players.
“I think we’ll soon find he’s a two-footed goalscorer. He looks to run in behind and he’s a decent size.
“He’s young, hungry and wants to improve. I think he’ll be a good acquisition for us. He’s played for Scotland at most of the youth levels and he’s had a great upbringing at Rangers before going out on loan to Livingston.
“I think it’s going to be a good opportunity for him but also a great signing for us as well.
“The owner (Simon Sadler) said he wants to make signings, whether that’s frees, loans or for money, and he’s backed it up already.
“I’ve had positive conversations with him again on certain other things we’re maybe looking to do.
“That’s not just signings but a lot of other things we’re trying to implement on and off the pitch.”
The forward, who came through the youth ranks at Ibrox, made his first-team debut in a Scottish League Cup game in 2014.
He has since played 17 times for Rangers, scoring twice for his boyhood club.
However, he has spent most of his early career out on loan, with Raith Rovers, St Mirren and Livingston.
Hardie, who has represented Scotland from Under-16 level right up to the Under-21s, helped Livingston gain promotion from the Scottish Championship 2017/18 and joined them on loan again last summer.
He scored a combined 15 goals in 40 appearances during his time there.
Hardie said: “It’s exciting times and I’m looking forward to hopefully pushing the club up the table and seeing how far we can go.
“It’s a new challenge coming down here and it’s obviously going to be different playing conditions, a different way to play and a different style of play.
“I’m looking forward to challenging myself and seeing how I deal with it.”